South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from SEC Tournament win over Texas A&M

South Carolina basketball knocked off Texas A&M despite playing a very sloppy game. They will play Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinals on Saturday.

South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso
South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Thumbs Up 1: Shooting Efficiency

When the Gamecocks held on to the basketball long enough to get a shot off, they did well. Carolina shot over 50% from the floor and over 50% from behind the 3-point line. They also had a pretty good day from the free throw line, knocking down 17-22 from the stripe.

The team's shot selection helped with that efficiency. Carolina scored 73 of their 79 points from the paint, arc, or line (the most efficient ways to score in basketball), and they shot well enough to score over 1 point per possession despite giving away 24 of them with turnovers.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Texas A&M
Thumbs Up 2: Coach Staley's Subbing

For most of the regular season, Coach Dawn Staley's rotations and substitutions can be confusing for fans to follow. With how good her team is, the way she utilizes her bench (or doesn't) is just as much about teaching as it is about the game that is being played.

On Friday, though, Coach Staley put on a masterclass of in-game subbing.

The Gamecocks used their most common starting lineup in the game (Johnson-Paopao-Hall-Kitts-Cardoso), but those five did not lead the team in minutes. Both Ashlyn Watkins and Tessa Johnson cracked that top-5 off the bench.

The rotation of bigs caused big problems for A&M's best player Janiah Barker as Kamilla Cardoso, Chloe Kitts, Ashlyn Watkins, and Sania Feagin all played a role in causing her to foul out and in holding her to 5-14 shooting and just 2 rebounds.

Staley rode Tessa Johnson off the bench in what was one of her best games of the year, and she seemed to get a bucket out of Chloe Kitts and Ashlyn Watkins anytime they were inserted into the action. 9 Gamecocks played at least 17 minutes, while none played 30. The SEC Tournament experience will be valuable for those players, and the lack of heavy minutes will keep the team fresh.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Thumbs Up 3: Balanced Statistical Contributions

The Gamecocks had a pretty balanced effort from their team in the box score against Texas A&M. 9 Gamecocks scored at least 5 points, 7 pulled down at least 3 rebounds, 5 had multiple assists, and 6 shot 50% or better from the field.

All of those stats (except for total points, a number which was negatively affected by the mountain of turnovers) combined for impressive numbers as Carolina shot over 50%, outrebounded A&M by 12, assisted 20/29 baskets, and was able to split the minutes up very evenly (9 players between 17 and 29 minutes).